The University of Wisconsin’s Goodman Diamond has been home to the WIAA state softball tournament since 2002.
Beloit Turner and Delavan-Darien are the only two area programs to make a state appearance in that time.
Turner has played three times at Goodman, including runner-up finishes in Division 2 in 2017 and in Division 3 in 2002.
Delavan-Darien finished runner-up in Division 2 in 2016.
So which area school has the best chance to make the trip to Madison this postseason?
The Elkhorn Elks are the logical choice.
Elkhorn wrapped up a Southern Lakes Conference championship Tuesday night and is ranked sixth in the state in Division 1. The Southern Lakes has arguably been the toughest conference in the state over the past decade, with Westosha Central winning two of the last five D1 state titles. Wilmot was second in D1 in 2017.
The Elks are the top seed in the Badger Sectional. Milton is the No. 2 seed, with Westosha third. Elkhorn and Westosha split during the regular season.
Janesville Craig and Janesville Parker are seeded ninth and 10th, respectively. Craig plays at eighth-seeded Lake Geneva Badger in a regional semifinal game Tuesday, with the winner playing at top-seeded Elkhorn in a regional final next Thursday.
“There were a lot of teams clustered around one another when it came time to do the seeding,” Craig coach Kristen Worm said. “And that’s why I think it’s such a wide-open sectional.
“Our girls believe in each other and believe they can have success in the tournament.”
Parker opens up Tuesday at seventh-seeded Oregon. The winner plays at Milton next Thursday.
If the top four seeds hold serve, the sectional would feature top-seed Elkhorn playing fourth-seed Beloit, and third-seeded Westosha playing second-seeded Milton.
In the Division 2 Evansville Sectional, Whitewater is the top area seed. The Whippets are seeded fifth and play at fourth-seeded Catholic Memorial on Tuesday.
Turner, which saw its streak of seven straight Rock Valley Conference championships come to an end this season, is seeded sixth and opens at third-seeded Monroe on Tuesday.
Portage and Whitnall are the two top seeds in the Evansville Sectional, with Rock Valley champion Jefferson a two seed. The Eagles will likely host the winner of the Monroe vs. Turner game in a regional final next Thursday.
Whitnall is ranked second in the state, Monroe third and Jefferson eighth, making the Evansville Sectional the toughest to come out of in the state.
Orfordville Parkview has its best team to date, but the Vikings have the misfortune of being stuck in the same Division 4 sectional as unbeaten and top-ranked Horicon. The Marshmen are currently 17-0 and are averaging more than 13 runs a game. Opponents have scored 18 runs in 17 games against Horicon.
Parkview is currently ranked eighth and finished second in the Trailways South behind fourth-ranked Johnson Creek. The Blue Jays are also in the Mineral Point Sectional along with Parkview, and those two teams seemed destined to meet in a regional final next Thursday after splitting a doubleheader earlier this week.
Despite 14 softball programs in our circulation area, only Turner and Delavan-Darien have played at state on Goodman Field.
Will that change in 2019?
John Barry is a sports writer for The Gazette. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.